The Solar Trade Association (STA) have released a briefing note on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) revised business rates calculations for self-owned solar PV.
Implications are a “increase of six to eight times in business rates if increase of six to eight times” … the STA briefing note further states:
“for solar installed since the FiT reductions in February 2016 as well as future installations the new business rates will reduce the lifetime return on investment to near zero, and some are even showing negative returns. This would make it uneconomic to install solar, all but eliminating the incentive to invest and seriously curtailing future deployment. On the principle that tax should not prevent businesses from doing business, we are seeking prompt Government intervention. “
“With the mainly export sites, solar panels are classed as ‘excepted plant and machinery’ so are non-rateable. This is not the case for mainly self-consumption assets, which is the root of the problem, but the VOA can only treat solar within the constraints of existing legislation. We are therefore requesting Government intervention to change the legislation and exempt self-owned rooftop solar panels and cells from business rates. To achieve this, we are exploring the following options:
All rooftop solar panels should be classed as ‘excepted plant and machinery’ under Class 1 in the regulations (SI2000/540), following the precedent of the exemption for CHP (SI2001/846), or the wording for solar cells and panels in Table 1 could exclude those intended for self-consumption. The microgeneration (<50kW) exemption should be retained and made permanent, such that all existing and future microgeneration benefits, allowing businesses to plan ahead. ”